All-around capable performer
Transmission basically exploded internally at 35930 miles. About 70 miles left under warranty, luckily! Dealer repaired the transmission; no problems since.
Dashboard instruments have the typical on-again, off-again habit when hitting large bumps. This did not show up until my 4th year of ownership while speeding down a dirt washboard road. Haven't tried to get it fixed yet - will probably do it myself.
Exhaust manifold sounds cracked, but I haven't investigated it yet. Gives a somewhat cool growl to the engine...
Air conditioner condensation leaked into the passenger side floor board. Dealer "fixed" it by saying that the drain was clogged. I now know better and plan to install an elbow to the firewall drain.
When placed in low-range, the low-range light does not illuminate on the dash, but the high-range light remains illuminated. Discovered this early on and took to the original dealer, who said it wasn't supposed to do that. Right. So why are there 2 "4wd" markings if one isn't for high-range and the other low-range? Bottom line, the dealer wasn't going to fix it, but I can tell the difference between when I'm in high-range and low-range, so I let it go.
All in all, the blown transmission has been the only major repair in 6 years.
I recently started thinking about upgrading to a Land Rover and discovered this site. I still love my TJ, but was looking for something a little more civilized and larger. However, after reading all the reviews of Jeeps and Rovers on this excellent website, I think I'll be keeping my Wrangler!
I've taken this TJ off-road on multiple occasions, driven it for 8-10 hours at a time at highway speeds, and used it as a daily driver. With the exception of the original transmission I really haven't been disappointed. Yes, it is rather noisy. I discovered the vent trick early on (which only works with the A/C if you are NOT in the 'recycle' mode) which helps.
The stereo has been upgraded to an Eclipse aftermarket CD player.
The fuel economy really isn't that bad. Anyone who complains should see what other 4wds are getting. I average 18-20 mpg in mostly city driving. I keep track of the mileage, and after adding a K&N air filter I get about 1 mpg more on average.
All in all, this really is the perfect vehicle. It's small and maneuverable for urban areas, fun, affordable, and has been far more reliable than I expected. It feels right at home on a beach or on a somewhat muddy trail. Jeeps never go out of style, and are easy to maintain yourself (which I do for the most part). Now that I've decided to keep it, I'll start building it up for more extreme off-road use.
My biggest complaint is the noise - if Jeep would make a hard-top version where the top were an integrated steel assembly, such as the Dakar concept vehicle of a few years ago, this vehicle would be absolutely perfect. For now, I guess I just have to turn the volume on the radio up. Or start wearing earplugs...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th March, 2004